The executive vice president of Subaru of Indiana Automotive Inc. says the announcement that an additional Subaru model will be made in Lafayette will have statewide impact. Tom Easterday says the three-row crossover vehicle will boost the plant’s total production volume, add an undetermined number of jobs and increase orders at more than two dozen direct suppliers in the state. Work on the new model will be on top of the $140 million expansion detailed in September that is expected to create 1,200 jobs.
Easterday says Japan-based parent Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. mulled manufacturing operations in Mexico and others in the U.S. for production, but ultimately chose SIA. He says "this announcement means continued growth of our operations in the future. The new 3-row model will result in the steady growth of jobs and investment in SIA and at many of our 28 direct material suppliers in Indiana. The 3-row crossover model is still in development and we have not yet determined our exact needs for adding this vehicle to our production lineup. While we know additional jobs will be created and investment will be necessary, it will be some time before we can determine the exact details."
The new vehicle will replace the Tribeca, which is produced at SIA along with Legacy and Outback. A new Impreza model is set to roll off the lines in 2017. Production on the three-row model is expected to begin in 2018. Subaru describes the new crossover "will likely carry a name synonymous with outdoor adventure" and be larger than the Tribeca.
Subaru expects production in Indiana to reach nearly 230,000 by the end of the year and hit nearly 400,000 over the next couple years with the previously-announced expansion.
Easterday attributes the company’s growth to seven consecutive years of sales growth, with sales totals by year’s end expected to be triple what they were in 2007. SIA currently employs more than 3,900 in Tippecanoe County.
Easterday tells Inside INdiana Business parent company, Japan-based Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., considered other manufacturing operations.